This study aimed to determine the feasibility of cervical conization and sentinel lymph node (SLN) mapping as a fertility-sparing strategy to treat stage I cervical cancer and to estimate the tumor margin status needed to achieve no residual carcinoma in the cervix.
We identified all patients who desired fertility preservation and underwent SLN mapping with cervical conization for stage I cervical cancer from September 2005 to August 2012. Relevant demographic, clinical, and pathologic information was collected.
Ten patients were identified. Median age was 28 years (range, 18–36 years). None of the patients had a grossly visible tumor. The initial diagnosis of invasive carcinoma was made either on a loop electrosurgical excision procedure or cone biopsy. All patients underwent preoperative radiologic evaluation (magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography–computed tomography). None of the patients had evidence of gross tumor or suspicion of lymph node metastasis on imaging. Stage distribution included 7 (70%) patients with stage IA1 cervical cancer with lymphovascular invasion and 3 (30%) patients with microscopic IB1. Histologic diagnosis included 8 (80%) patients with squamous cell carcinoma, 1 (10%) patient with adenocarcinoma, and 1 (10%) patient with clear cell carcinoma. Nine patients underwent repeat cervical conization with SLN mapping, and 1 patient underwent postconization cervical biopsies and SLN mapping. None of the patients had residual tumor identified on the final specimen. The median distance from the invasive carcinoma to the endocervical margin was 2.25 mm, and the distance from the invasive carcinoma to the ectocervical margin was 1.9 mm. All collected lymph nodes were negative for metastasis. After a median follow-up of 17 months (range, 1–83 months), none of the patients’ conditions were diagnosed with recurrent disease and 3 (30%) patients achieved pregnancy.
Cervical conization and SLN mapping seems to be an acceptable treatment strategy for selected patients with small-volume stage I cervical cancer. Tumor clearance of 2 mm and above seems to correlate well with no residual on repeat conization. A larger sample size and longer follow-up is needed to establish the long-term outcomes of this procedure.